NORTHERN SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif. - Firefighters are slowly gaining the upper hand on the Chimney Fire burning in northern San Luis Obispo County that continues to threaten dozens of homes near Lake Nacimiento.
The fire has grown to 8,000 acres with 25% containment as of 7pm Wednesday night.
Calfire says damage assessment teams have identified two more homes destroyed bringing to 32 the total number of homes lost to the fire that's been burning since last Saturday afternoon.
While air tankers and helicopters continue to help fight the Chimney Fire from the air, the battle is being waged primarily on the ground by hundreds of firefighters working around the clock to build a containment line around the fire.
"We have over 2,200 firefighters here actively fighting this fire", says Calfire spokesperson Kenichi Haskett, "our goal is to have no more structure damage and to contain this fire as soon as possible."
More than 40 homes and outbuildings have been destroyed by the fire that started last Saturday afternoon, many of the homes have been identified as vacation homes or cabins.
Incident commanders say it could be awhile before they allow people back into the burn area to assess the damage to their properties.
"We don't want to let people back in when there are trees overhead that could possibly fall, they look safe, they look like they are standing up, but they could fall, and its a tragic situation if a tree falls and kills somebody, or severely injures somebody", Haskett says, "we want to open the area as soon as possible for people to go back into their homes, find their belongings, check out the damage, assess the damage so they can move on with their lives, but we want to make sure first of re-entry that is safe."
The Chimney Fire is expected to burn or smolder for the next several days due to extreme heat, low humidity, occasional gusty winds and extremely dry vegetation that is fueling the fire.
The cause of the Chimney Fire which began last Saturday afternoon in the area of Chimney Rock and Running Deer Roads remains under investigation.